VIA Rail Canada signs an agreement with Parsons Corporation for deployment of onboard wireless internet (Wi-Fi) services
Montreal - VIA Rail took a major step forward today in extending Wi-Fi service to all its customers in the Québec City-Windsor corridor by signing a five-year partnership agreement with Parsons Corporation to offer Wi-Fi service to all VIA 1 and Comfort class customers by November 2006.
“As the first commercial fleet deployment of on train Wi-Fi in North America, this value added service aimed primarily at business travellers and students will provide access to e-mail and the Internet, create opportunities for private applications like e-ticketing and could even provide operational information through electronic logbooks and engine telemetry,” said Steve Del Bosco, Vice-President, Marketing. “This new service gives VIA Rail a considerable competitive edge over other methods of transportation, especially for travellers who rely on their laptops or Personal Digital Assistants to conduct their daily business.”
Parsons, one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms, will build a private Wi-Fi network serving all VIA 1 and Comfort class cars, 22 stations and all seven Panorama lounges. The system will combine satellite communications, cellular communications and Wi-Fi technology to access the Internet. As a result, customers using the Opti-Fi service will experience continuous Wi-Fi access while on board.
Keith Dunbar, Vice-President at Parsons commented, “VIA Rail is to be congratulated for taking such an initiative in demonstrating its commitment to provide their customers with a new set of high-quality services, setting them apart as a forward thinking, world-class transportation company.”
Users with Wi-Fi technology will be automatically offered the service when they open their laptops or Personal Digital Assistants. The Parsons’ Wi-Fi solution will provide a seamless experience from VIA Rail stations or Panorama lounges to the trains.
“Parsons’ market leadership in airport Wi-Fi systems and their impeccable track record in large project management, combined with their risk-free revenue model and business flexibility, made them the ideal partner for VIA Rail’s Wi-Fi platform,” concluded Steve Del Bosco.
Five VIA trains and four Panorama lounges already benefit from the service. All Panorama lounges and 22 stations will have Wi-Fi hotspots by March 2006, followed by all VIA 1 cars in April 2006 and all Comfort class cars in November 2006.
About Parsons Corporation
Parsons, which has an office in the Toronto area, is a leader in many diversified markets, such as transportation, infrastructure, facilities, industrial processes, telecommunications, water, advanced technology, environmental, and planning, provides technical and management solutions to private industrial customers worldwide as well as federal, regional, and local government agencies. For more about Parsons, please visit http://www.parsons.com.
About VIA Rail
As Canada’s national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada’s mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally responsible and cost effective passenger transportation services, both in Canada’s busiest Corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. Serving more than 450 communities with a 14,000-kilometer network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains, demand for rail services continues to grow as more Canadians turn to train travel as a safe and convenient travel choice.
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